Cover of the comic adaptation of 'Patria', made by Toni Fejzula.
Toni Fejzula, an illustrator from Barcelona of Serbian origin, adapts the acclaimed novel by Fernando Aramburu to the comic
Adapting to the comic
, the acclaimed novel by
that now debuts as a television series on HBO and Telecinco, was a poisoned gift, capable of overthrowing the most capable author.
But it was not the case of
, one of the greatest talents of the national comic.
Born in Belgrade, where he was born in 1980, he moved with his family to Barcelona in 1992, when Yugoslavia was already experiencing an incipient civil war.
Barcelona was not strange to his family: his father is
, a legendary
player who played for FCBarcelona between 1982 and 1985. After studying Fine Arts, in 2000 he made his debut as a cartoonist with a story for
El Reino Salvaje by Conan
published by Planeta DeAgostini Cómics, the same publisher for which
Thus began a career that has allowed him to work in the Spanish, French-Belgian and American markets, work that he has combined with teaching, animation, illustration and advertising drawing.
"From the beginning, the project
was raised and negotiated with the idea of doing something great
. Although now it may be thought that it is part of the
created around Aramburu's work, it was not like that," explains Fejzula.
"I knew that a television series was already underway at the time the commission was proposed to me. But that created a responsibility for me: I was aware that the only way to solve it was
not to treat
as just another product, but as something personal
As he recognizes in the moving epilogue of the work, the point of view of the Basque reality that he exposes in the cartoons is the one given in the original novel, but if he does not come to agree with that opinion, "he would have been a hypocrite to accept that job".
"Treating these issues can only be done from the emotional point of view
, even if one masks it with objectivity," he says.
Comic artist Toni Fejzula. PLANET
Fejzula decided to tackle "alone" the titanic project of
compressing the 648 pages of the novel into 277 comic books
For this he voluntarily isolated himself.
At first, for a year and a little.
Finally, for two years.
"I did not consult anything with anyone, neither with the production team of the series nor with Aramburu himself. In the second case it was my will. I did not want external references, I wanted to understand the story for myself. It was a matter of internalizing. Although at the moment a kind of package is being created that includes all the adaptations in the same place, I have to say no, that I
acted on my own, fighting alone with the original work
, "he clarifies.
The process led her to reflect on her own nationality, on the tears caused by the war in her family and on how "in times of uncertainty, everything changes, all the principles that the generations of your parents have pampered, respected or misinterpreted, are. they come down. "
A great connoisseur of the narratives of the ninth art (one of his mentors is
, another great Serbian cartoonist living in Barcelona), Fejzula chose not to make it easy for the reader.
That is why he twists, plays and enjoys the environment.
Each page has a life of its own ("I don't think I ever managed to make the page that I had planned to do the day before," he confesses) and as a whole they convey that complicated amalgam between a conscientious study and pure intuition.
Not making it easy for the reader was a real intention
. There are readers who are excited about that: not facing a linear treatment; not giving it all chewed up. It is a challenge for them and they enjoy it more when they enter in that game. I am also aware that there are those who are not used to graphic novels or comics in general and who may find it difficult. But I have a principle: you cannot be condescending with the reader. He must be a part active if you want to internalize a work.
In a comic about victims of terrorism, where people's lives are at stake, the only way to get him to enter is to put him between heads or tails. Either you enter or you don't enter
Each character has a color tone throughout the work.
Bittori, Miren, Joxe Mari, Xabier, Gorka ...
Bittori, Miren, Joxe Mari, Xabier, Gorka ...
Each of the eight characters that support the action has a chromatic range exposed by Fejzula at the beginning of the story, as if it were a work by
A page that is often returned to during reading until the distribution of colors is internalized, a point that those who already know the original text reach more quickly.
"I created a mosaic that I had to build throughout the entire work. In fact, the comic
does not have to be read in a linear way
. That mechanism happened to me while I was mounting it. You can start reading it from any point. Yes, I keep the temporal thread marked by Aramburu, but reconverting the character chapters into concrete images made it change. It is a chance that arose when making the work, which rethink the option of the narrative, its perception. And embrace it ".
In fact, initially another solution was proposed: make up to nine different chapters, one for each character.
But in the end he challenged himself to be faithful to the novel's time jumps.
That led him to his greatest learning during artistic development: the ability to synthesize.
"I had a certain space. I had to spin very fine so that all the bullet points were not crowded. I reflected on each piece of information I wanted to remove, on which part of the text I could omit, because many were literary devices that had nothing to do with it. the text of a script, "he says.
"People may not realize it, but it is what I invested the most work, in removing the excess things by repetition. The novelist repeats information to give a feeling of fluidity. But in my need not to extend myself, I removed elements so that I did not were repeated.
My purpose was to remove the repetitions without eliminating the information
. And the feeling that I keep is that I got it, "he concludes.
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